Sports

Palczewski’s bombs power Bulldogs

Coach Steve Shahan has got to love what he sees in his team:

Bowman County senior Michael Palczewski drives to the basket during the Bulldogs’ 73-57 victory Tuesday night at Solberg Gymnasium in the season opener. – JASON WASKIEWICZ/Special to the Pioneer

Posted Dec. 7, 2012

By DICK NUNEZ

Special to the Pioneer

Coach Steve Shahan has got to love what he sees in his team: Great hustle, balanced scoring, team play, and a one-man gang in Michael Palczewski, a 6-0 senior guard who lit up Solberg Gymnasium with 30 points including five 3-pointers against the Richardton-Taylor Raiders.

The action started slowly as both teams seemed a bit nervous to start the year. Brandon Orcutt, a 6-3 senior, put the Bulldogs on the board with a lay-in. Tanner Fischer hit a 15-footer from the baseline to make it 7-4 Bulldogs. Palczewski hit his first trey, giving Bowman County a 13-6 with 2:00 left in the quarter. The quarter would end with the Bulldogs holding a 16-13 lead. Palczewski tallied seven, and Ryder Bohlman, a 6-5 senior paced Richardton-Taylor with nine.

In the second quarter, Bohlman kept pounding away from the outside, adding another eight points to his total. Palczewski put up another five. But the highlight of the quarter was a show of “brotherly love.” Colter Braaten, a 6-0 senior, hit younger brother Chandler, a 5-10 sophomore, with a “thread the needle pass.” Chandler made sure big brother got his assist as he calmly drained a 3-pointer giving the Bulldogs a 30-22 lead with 3:02 remaining in the half. The Bulldogs would go into the locker room with a 37-27 advantage.

Coming out of the locker room, Palczewski was “cocked and loaded.” He fired away at the hapless Raiders, nailing back-to-back 3-pointers, along with a variety of slashing moves that appear to be unstoppable. After his assault on the Raider defense, the Bulldogs held a commanding 52-35 lead with 1:17 to go. The Raiders did put on a brief flurry behind Bohlman and Lane Voltz, a 6-1 junior, making the score 57-42 at the end of three quarters.

With the drama gone as to who would win, the question remained, “How many would Palczewski finish with?” He had 28 points when Shahan pulled him with 4:19 to go in the game with the Bulldogs up by 20.

Another run by the Raiders brought him back in to seal the deal. As he did all night, he did not disappoint, tallying his 30th point (a career high) with 2:49 to go. The Bulldogs emptied the bench, cruising to a 73-57 victory.

Although the praise often goes to the high scorer, this was far from a one-man-show. Colter Braaten did not have one of his signature scoring nights, but he did control the floor, played great defense, and showed much improved ball handling skills. He practiced all summer using drills from the legendary Pistol Pete Maravich. Braaten would finish with 8 assists.

Then there was Brandon Fischer, a 6-2 senior, who totally controlled the inside with 11 rebounds and several blocked or altered shots. Younger brother Tanner Fischer contributed 14 points and six rebounds. Brandon Orcutt and Chance Moran a pair of 6-3 seniors, helped out with seven rebounds apiece.

After the game, a very happy Coach talked about his first victory as the Bulldogs head coach.

“It was what you would expect for a first game, we did a lot of good things and other things were inconsistent,” he said. “Overall effort was good. Chandler and Bondon Scott (a 5-9 sophomore) provided a spark off the bench. Our rebounding advantage was big. Like I said, it was your typical first game. Now we have a baseline to go from and we’ll keep working hard to get better.”

Shahan also was quick to point out that yes, Palczewski shot great, but he also played a strong defensive game.

Sounds like a great recipe for a winning season.

Scoring: Bowman County ~ Palczewski 30, T. Fischer 14, Co. Braaten 9, B. Fischer 9, Orcutt 8, Ch. Braaten 3, Scott 2

Richardton-Taylor ~ Bohlman 24, Voltz 16, Olson 4, Kuntz 4, Rebel 2, Gullickson 2, Kuntz 2